Although the Islamic religion is well known, many people are less familiar with Sufism—the esoteric component of Islam. The Secret of Islam explores the mystical path of Sufism, which focuses on love and compassion. Sections proceed through the levels of Sufism: Journey of the Disciple, Actions, Spiritual Journey of the Seeker, and Flowering of the Perfect Human.
This book is concerned with the rationality and plausibility of the Muslim faith and the Quran, and in particular how they can be interogated and understood through western analytical philosophy. It is also explores how Islam can successfully engage with the challenges posed by secular thinking. The Quran and the Secular Mind will be of interest to students and scholars of Islamic philosophy, philosophy of religion, Middle East studies, and political Islam.
Introduction -- Leibniz, historicism, and the plague of Islam -- Kant, Islam, and the preservation of boundaries -- Herder's Arab fantasies -- Keeping the Turks out of islam : Goethe's Ottoman plan -- Friedrich Schlegel and the emptying of Islam -- Hegel and the disappearance of Islam -- Marx the Moor -- Nietzsche's peace with Islam.
In all the current alienating discourse on Islam as a source of extremism and fanatic violence this new publication takes a timely and refreshing look at the traditions of Islamic mysticism, philosophy and intellectual debate in a series of diverse and stimulating approaches. It tackles the major figures of Islamic thought as well as shedding light on hitherto unconsidered aspects of Islam utilizing new source material. The contributors are impressive list of scholars and experts.
This book investigates the central role of reason in Islamic intellectual life. Despite widespread characterization of Islam as a system of belief based only on revelation, John Walbridge argues that rational methods, not fundamentalism, have characterized Islamic law, philosophy and education since the medieval period. His research demonstrates that this medieval Islamic rational tradition was opposed by both modernists and fundamentalists, resulting in a general collapse of traditional Islamic intellectual life and its replacement by more modern but far shallower (...) forms of thought. However, the resources of this Islamic scholarly tradition remain an integral part of the Islamic intellectual tradition and will prove vital to its revival. The future of Islam, Walbridge argues, will be marked by a return to rationalism. (shrink)
In the light of current events, particularly the ‘post September 11th’ debates with much focus on aspects of the ‘clash of civilisation’ thesis, the issue of Islamic identity is a crucial one. Whilst Friedrich Nietzsche was addressing an audience of a different culture and age, his own originality, creativity, psychological, philological and historical insights allows for a fresh and enlightening understanding of Islam within the context of our modern era. In this book, Roy Jackson sets out to determine: Why (...) did Nietzsche feel inclined to be so generous towards the Islamic tradition yet so critical of Western Christianity? How important was religion for Nietzsche’s views on such matters as moral and political philosophy and how does this help us to understand the Islamic response to modernity? How does Nietzsche’s distinctive outlook and methodology help us to understand such key Islamic paradigms as the Qur’an, the Prophet, and the ‘Rightly-Guided’ Caliphs? Nietzsche and Islam provides an original and fresh insight into Nietzsche’s views on religion and shows that his philosophy can make an important contribution to what is considered to be Islam’s key paradigms. As such it will be of interest to a diverse readership and will provide useful material for researchers when thinking about religion, Islam and the future. (shrink)
Over 700,000 copies of the original hardcover and paperback editions of this stunningly popular book have been sold. Karen Armstrong's superbly readable exploration of how the three dominant monotheistic religions of the world—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have shaped and altered the conception of God is a tour de force. One of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, Armstrong traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical (...) philosophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one compelling volume. (shrink)
Section 1. Introduction. The prophet of non-violence -- section 2. Women in Islam. Women in the light of hadith -- Violence against women and religion -- section 3. War and peace in Islam. Theory of war and peace in Islam -- Centrality of jihad in post Qurʼanic period -- Jihad? But what about other verses in the Qurʼan? -- Islam, democracy and violence -- A critical look at Qurʼanic verses on war and violence -- section 4. (...) Justice and compassion in Islam. Concept of justice in Islam -- Love in Sufi poetry: Maulana Rum, the poet of love -- Compassion in Islam: theology and history -- Islam and compassion: scriptural, historical and contemporary perspective -- section 5. Social issues. Science, West and Islamic origin of science -- Opening chapter of the Qurʼan and its ecological interpretation -- Islam and contemporary issues -- Religion or secularism? -- Modernity, discontent and religion -- Hindu-Muslim unity through religion? -- Religion and conflict. (shrink)
At several times, the Koran mentions the death that affects all men. Perhaps that was the reason why the question of suicide and of voluntary death arose very soon in the Islamic world. From the century IX, this problem became object of consideration, caused by the impact of the Ancient Philosophy: it seems that Socrates' figure exercised a certain influence through the versions of his death, accepted voluntarily, which arrived to the Islamic world. Socrates' death favoured the reflection among many (...) Muslim thinkers. KEY WORDS – Islam. Socrates. Voluntary death. Suicide. (shrink)
This book introduces Islam as the religion of inclusive monotheism, supporting a holistic approach toward the entire creation, including man and humanity, and taking into consideration directly all his physical, rational, emotion, and spiritual needs.
Abu Hamid al Ghazali, one of the most famous intellectuals in the history of Islam, developed a definition of Unbelief (kufr) to serve as the basis for determining who, in theological terms, should be considered a Muslim and who should not. Jackson's annotated translation is preceded by an introduction that reconstructs the historical and theoretical context of the Faysal and discusses its relevance for contemporary thought and practice.
This book brings together the ideas of a number of contemporary modernist and liberal Muslim thinkers, exposing an important intellectual current in Islamic thought which will be new to many Western readers. Responding to the challenges brought by colonialism and modernization, the contributors propose new conceptions and interpretations of Islam consonant with the age. Although their specific concerns and emphases vary, they all reconsider the relation between religion and politics and the incorporation of modern Western ideas.
This book uses the writings of Syed Alam Khundmiri to look at issues such as: Islamic traditionalism in the context of meodernization; Islamic theology and politics; and Western and Indian notions of secularism.
These have been passed down from generation to generation. This book invites readers of any religion or none to drink from the wellspring of Islamic spirituality and use its wisdom to nourish their own spiritual path.
Biography of Ibn Rushd ... Averroes, old heathen, If only you had been right, if Intellect Itself were absolute law, sufficient grace. Our lives could be a myth of captivity. Which we might enter: an unpeopled region.
Introduction -- Reconstructing Nisaburi's early education -- Nisaburi's early scientific thought -- Nisaburi's early religious thought -- Astrology motivating inductions about God's power -- Nisaburi's later scientific thought -- The impact of science on Nisaburi's religious thought -- The limits of science's influence on Nisaburi's religious thought -- Conclusion.
Introduction -- Reconstructing Nīsābūrī's early education -- Nīsābūrī's early scientific thought -- Nīsābūrī's early religious thought -- Astrology motivating inductions about God's power -- Nīsābūrī's later scientific thought -- The impact of science on Nīsābūrī's religious thought -- The limits of science's influence on Nīsābūrī's religious thought -- Conclusion.
This book discloses a largely unnoticed dialogue between Muslim and Western social thought on the search for meaning and transcendence in the human sciences. The disclosure is accomplished by a comparative reading of contemporary Muslim debates on secular knowledge on the one hand, and of a foundational Western debate on the demise of metaphysics in the human sciences on the other hand. The comparative reading is grounded in a dialogical hermeneutic approach; that is, a hermeneutic approach to texts and cultural (...) traditions that draws upon the work of Hans Georg Gadamer and also upon the insights of inter-religious dialogue. (shrink)
Neutrality, liberalism, and islam integration in Europe and America -- Limits of excluding: the French burqa law of 2010 -- Limits of including: Germany's reticence to "cooperate" with organized Islam -- "Reasonable accommodation" and the limits of multiculturalism in Canada -- The dog that didn't bark: Islam and religious pluralism in the United States -- Islam and identity in the liberal state.
Journeys of Ghazali and Averroes to their diverse conceptions of the role of reason -- From the chimera of philosophy to the evidence of "the just balance" -- The decisive criterion of the distinction between islam and hypocrisy (zandaqa) -- Averroes, philospher-reader of the precious book -- Reorganization of the world according to Aristotle in the light of Qurʼanic revelation by Averroes -- Ghazali and Averroes in Muslim society.
This paper looks at whether the tenets of Islam are consistent with the 'Ten Principles' of responsible business outlined in the UN Global Compact. The paper concludes that with the possible exception of Islam's focus on personal responsibility and the non-recognition of the corporation as a legal person, which could undermine the concept of corporate responsibility, there is no divergence between the tenets of the religion and the principles of the UN Global Compact. Indeed, Islam often goes (...) further and has the advantage of clearer codification of ethical standards as well as a set of explicit enforcement mechanisms. Focusing on this convergence of values could be useful in the development of a new understanding of CSR in a global context and help avert the threatened "clash of civilisations". (shrink)
What kind of duty do we have to try to stop other people doing wrong? The question is intelligible in just about any culture, but few of them seek to answer it in a rigorous fashion. The most striking exception is found in the Islamic tradition, where 'commanding right' and 'forbidding wrong' is a central moral tenet already mentioned in the Koran. As an historian of Islam whose research has ranged widely over space and time, Michael Cook is well (...) placed to interpret this complex subject. His book represents the first sustained attempt to map the history of Islamic reflection on this obligation. It covers the origins of Muslim thinking about 'forbidding wrong', the relevant doctrinal developments over the centuries, and its significance in Sunni and Shi'ite thought today. In this way the book contributes to the understanding of Islamic thought, its relevance to contemporary Islamic politics and ideology, and raises fundamental questions for the comparative study of ethics. (shrink)
The Islamic philosophical tradition was the privileged site for the study and continuation of the Classical philosophical tradition in the Middle Ages. An initial chapter on the history of Islamic philosophy sets the stage for sixteen articles on issues across the Islamic, Jewish and Christian traditions. The goal is to see the Islamic tradition in its own richness and complexity as the context of much Jewish intellectual work. Taken together, these two traditions provide the wider context to which Latin Christian (...) intellectuals would turn. The articles are grouped under six topics relevant both to the period and to current philosophical interest: the Islamic philosophical context, the nature of philosophy in the Middle Ages, Neoplatonism and the activity of the soul, creation, virtue, and the Latin reception. Since the nineteenth century Islamic and Jewish philosophy have been neglected in the standard histories of medieval philosophy. The time is right to begin to write a more balanced history of medieval philosophy. In order to begin to write this history, this book focuses on the Islamic, Jewish, and Christian use of - and reaction to - Classical philosophy during the Middle Ages. (shrink)
Abstract The neo?Gramscian framework offers one of the more innovative contributions to a discipline long embedded in the self?same verities of behaviouralism, positivism and neo?Realism. As with conventional wisdom, however, neo?Gramscians reproduce either assumptions of liberal neutrality or cultural thickness in relation to the ?peripheral zones? of the global political economy. These tendencies produce a variant that can be likened to ?soft Orientalism?. In the first instance, cultural difference is not much of an impediment to the establishment of (West?centred) global (...) hegemony. In the second instance, otherness becomes the principal source of counter?hegemonic movements or resistance. This article provides a Gramscian rereading of these antinomies in relation to the apparent consolidation of a natural attitude towards Islam in the wake of recent dramatic events. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss the current trend of authoritarianism in the Islamic world, especially as embodied in the institution of taqlid, whereby a lay person blindly follows a religious scholar. We will compare this to the mystical tradition of Ibn 'Arabî as well as the early esoteric Shî'ite tradition, where a much more "rebellious" type of Islam was offered and provided purviews of pluralism and universalism that challenge authoritarian closures of interpretation in relationship with God. By way of (...) further comparison, we will also attend to the writings of some liberal and pluralistic thinkers in the Muslim world. (shrink)
: This essay highlights how contemporary Muslim fundamentalists reduce Islam's rich and complex intellectual legacy to a set of authoritarian rules. The three branches of classical Islamic education-theology, jurisprudence, and ethics-are particularly targeted. The reductionist pattern applied to these areas is designed to eliminate both the scholarly space of inquiry and the room for individual reflection traditionally granted to its followers by Islamic religion. The essay ends with an analysis of the language used by Osama bin Laden in various (...) documents over the last ten years that show how he has abused Islam's jurisprudential tradition to confer on him a convenient likeness of legality. (shrink)
Review of Avital Wohlman, Al-Ghazali, Averroës and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense and Philosophy in Islam, Translated by David Burrell Content Type Journal Article Pages 637-639 DOI 10.1007/s11841-010-0207-3 Authors Scott Girdner, Western Kentucky University, 1906 college Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, KY 42101, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527 Journal Volume Volume 49 Journal Issue Volume 49, Number 4.
Tracing the course of thought, action, and expression in the golden age of Islamic civilization, L. E. Goodman's Islamic Humanism paints a vivid panorama that departs strikingly from the all too familiar image of Islamic dogma, authoritarianism, and militancy. Among the poets and philosophers, scientists and historians, ethicists and mystics of Islam, Goodman finds a warm and vital humanism, committed to the pursuit of knowledge and to the cosmopolitan values of generosity, tolerance, and understanding. Drawing on a wide range (...) of writings, from love poetry to pietism, to satire, to history and metaphysics, and on to hunting, music and the dance, clothing, politics, and the marketplace, Goodman discloses the rich texture of classical Islamic civilization-its distinctive problematics and the space it left for the talents and creativity of the individual. His philosophic openness and easy familiarity place Islamic humanism securely in its larger context, revealing clearly what is of universa and abiding vitality and interest. In place of stereotypes, suspicions, and unease, Goodman sets out concrete and detailed expositions and explorations of Islamic thought and experience as seen through the eyes of the participants themselves. His engaged but sympathetic readings penetrate beneath the surface of the ancient texts to the humanistic values embraced by some of the greatest thinkers of Islam. As a result, Islamic Humanism does much more than remind us how much we owe to the intellectual achievements of Islamic civilization. The work is a significant contribution to Western understanding of Islam and to Islamic self-understanding of the profoundly humanistic dimensions of the Islamic tradition. (shrink)
In search of principles of health care in Islam -- Health and suffering -- Beginning of life -- Terminating early life -- Death and dying -- Organ donation and cosmetic enhancement -- Recent developments -- Epilogue.
We seek to establish a dialogue between democratic and Islamic normative political theories. To that aim, we show that the conception of democracy underlying a prominent Islamic political model is procedural. We distinguish proceduralism from a liberal conception of democracy. Then, we explain how bringing together Islamic political theory and democracy alters the meaning of the latter. In other words, we show that democracy within Islam often means democracy within Islamic limits.
Given its title, one might expect Roy Jackson's Nietzsche and Islam to offer an examination of Nietzsche's views on Islam. Such a volume would be welcome indeed, since with the exception of a short but excellent article by Ian Almond there is a striking lacuna in Nietzsche studies on this particular topic.1 However, while Jackson frequently notes Nietzsche's surprisingly positive assessment of Islam, his concerns here are not so much historical and philological as contemporary and political. The (...) stated aim of the book is twofold: first, to demonstrate (contrary to popular belief) that "Nietzsche is not the standard bearer for atheism" and second, to make the case that his philosophy "has particular relevance for .. (shrink)
The explanation of the relationship between God and humans, as portrayed in Islam, is often influenced by the images of God and of human beings which theologians, philosophers and mystics have in mind. The early period of Islam disclose a diversity of interpretations of this relationship. Thinkers from the tenth and eleventh century had the privilege of disclosing different facets of the relationship between humans and the divine. God and Humans in Islamic Thought discusses the view of three (...) different scholars of the time: Abd al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and Al-Ghazali. The relationships discussed in this work are: divine assistance, lu³f, according to 'Abd al-Jabbar; human love and attraction to the divine, 'ishq, according to Ibn Sina, and finally the mystical annihilation of the self in the divine unity, fana', of al-Ghazali. They introduce three approaches of looking at this relationship. In order to perceive these concepts, their perception of God and of the human nature will also be examined here. The starting-point of this research was the desire to set forth a variety of possible relationships which are all in accordance with Islamic belief, but nevertheless demonstrate diversity in understanding the relationship between the human and the divine which in turn suggests the concept of plurality within one religion. Examining these three concepts, which build firm connections between God and humans, reveals the importance of rational inquiry in medieval Islamic thought, not only because it was a source of logical arguments for Islam against its opponents but mainly because it built different bridges leading to God. God and Humans in Islamic Thought attempts to shed light on an important side of medieval rational thought in demonstrating its significance in forming the basis of an understanding of the nature of God, the nature of human beings and the construction of different bridges between them. (shrink)
This article aims to explain why the idea of the West is, for historical and philosophical reasons, an obstacle to dealing with the dangers posed by radical Islamists. Every proposed theory of the West has to account for the great internal cultural diversity both of European cultures and of those influenced by them around the world; and every serious historical account both of Europe and of Islam has to recognize the long-standing, substantial and ongoing interdependence of their intellectual and (...) religious traditions. As a result, what is needed to face extremists, whether inside or outside Europe (and whether Christian, Muslim or neither), is not an opposition between Islam and the West, but an alliance of those of all faiths and none who can live with and tolerate cultural difference against those, wherever they live and whatever their religion, who cannot. (shrink)
Dialogue with three major Muslim authors shows that Islam can take a positive stance toward human rights while also presenting differing interpretations of the meaning and scope of rights. Because of their subordination of norms reached through reason to those drawn from faith, as well as negative experiences of the impact of Western colonization of parts of the Muslim world, Abul A‘la Maududi and Sayyid Qutb place significant restrictions on rights of conscience. 'Abdolkarim Soroush's positive support for the role (...) of reason in Islamic faith and his less-negative assessment of the West lead him to more vigorous support for the human rights agenda. This study raises the question of whether the humility needed in comparative ethics and the respect for others at the root of human rights are necessarily linked. (shrink)
The question raised by the article is: can democracy be religious and, if so, how? Can religious faith be reconciled with modern democratic political institutions? The article takes its departure from the biblical admonition to believers to be ‘the salt of the earth’ — a phrase that militates against both world dominion and world denial. In its long history, Islam (like Christianity) has been sorely tempted by the lure of worldly power and domination. Nor is this temptation entirely a (...) matter of the past (witness the rise of the Christian right and of ‘political Islam’ in our time). Focusing on contemporary Iran, the article makes a constitutional proposal which would strengthen the democratic character of the Iranian Republic without canceling religious faith. If adopted, the proposal would reinvigorate the ‘salt’ of Muslim faith thus enabling believers to live up to the Qur‘anic summons for freedom, justice and service in the world. (shrink)
Abstract Islam displaces the ancient idea of time as an implacable enemy with the scriptural image of time as the stage of judgment, a narrow bridge of accountability stretched between creation and eternity. The stark contrast of temporal evanescence with all the immutability of eternity challenges Muslim theologians and philosophers of the classic age. The dialectical theologians of the kalam describe time and change atomisti?cally and even occasionalistically, seeking to preserve the absoluteness of the contrast and to avoid compromising (...) the purity of God's creative act and the sheer facticity of its temporal effect. The falasifa, philosophers in the Greek tradition, use Platonic, Aristotelian, and Neoplatonic arguments to reconcile temporality with eternity. Stripped of argument, their emanative and archetypal schemes join the core symbolisms of Islam, but only when accommodated to the Qur'anic ideas of judgment and creation. (shrink)
The role of reason, and its embodiment in philosophical-scientific theorizing, is always a troubling one for religious traditions. The deep emotional needs that religion strives to satisfy seem ever linked to an attitudes of acceptance, belief, or trust, yet, in its theoretical employment, reason functions as a critic as much as it does a creator, and in the special fields of metaphysics and epistemology its critical arrows are sometimes aimed at long-standing cherished beliefs. Understandably, the mere approach to these beliefs (...) through organized philosophical activity, however well-intended, is viewed with suspicion by ecclesiastical authorities and the devout. The attitude towards philosophical inquiry on the part of the Islamic religious community might be thought to typify this reaction. As one of the great prophetic religions, the self-avowed image of Islam is of a tradition which already possesses the truth as set forth in the divine revelation of the Qur'an. What need is there for philosophizing on fundamental matters, e.g., the ultimate nature of reality, the foundations of morality, the modes whereby the divine is connected with the temporal? The structure of creation is already made clear, the "straight path" for living already manifest. how can philosophical activity be anything but a source of divisive controversy, for as it turns its gaze to the foundations upon which the Shari`a' (Islamic Law) rests, or to the grounds for religious belief itself, it cannot avoid turning up alternative viewpoints, different perspectives on divine revelation, noting various weaknesses in received 1 interpretations? In short, isn't the practice of philosophy a threat to Islam's promise of providing a comprehensive way of living devoid of skepticism and uncertainty about the place of a human in God's creation and his or her role in the 'umma (Islamic community)? This problem is not unique to Islam, nor is it a new one within Islam. We know that it has been debated by Islamic thinkers since the translations of the Greek philosophers began to appear in an organized Islamic world during the 8th Century A.. (shrink)
Common experiences of mothering offer profound critiques of maternal ethical norms found in both Christianity and Islam. The familiar responsibilities of caring for children, assumed by the majority of Christian and Muslim women, provide the basis for reassessing sacrificial and selfless love, protesting unjust religious and political systems, and dismantling romanticized notions of childcare. As a distinctive category of women's experience, motherhood may offer valuable perspectives necessary for remedying injustices that afflict mothers and children in particular, as well as (...) for developing cross-cultural understandings of justice in general. (shrink)
The dominant debate on Islam and democracy continues to operate in the realm of normativity. This article engages with key literature showing limits of such a line of inquiry. Through the case study of India’s Islamist organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, I aim at shifting the debate from textual normativity to demotic praxis. I demonstrate how Islam and democracy work in practice, and in so doing offer a fresh perspective to enhance our understandings of both Islam and democracy. A key (...) proposition of this article is that rather than discussing the cliché if Islam is compatible with democracy, or Islam should be democratized, we study the ‘hows’ of de-democratization in Muslim societies. (shrink)
This short essay analyzes the deception and self-deception in talk of ‘the clash of civilizations’ and proceeds to diagnose what is wrong in the standard understanding of Islam in the Western media today by looking to the abiding history of colonial relations with Islam down to this day and also looking to the relation between ideals of democracy and the formation of religious identities. The essay closes with some remarks about the nature of identity and the importance to (...) one's own agency of the distinction between the first and the third person point of view in Muslim self-understanding. (shrink)
This article explores the implications of the prevalence of suicide attacks or 'martyrdom operations' in contemporary Islam. Historical and legal precedents from Islam and Christianity are adduced for the analysis and placed within the context of radical Islam.
: Skepticism as doubts about religious knowledge played a significant role in the intellectual reflection of the fourth and fifth Islamic centuries (tenth and eleventh centuries c.e.), a period of considerable plurality within Islam on many levels. Such skepticism was directed at revealed knowledge that spelled out the customs and norms (i.e., laws) particular to the Islamic way of life (religio-moral knowledge). Doubts were pushed by (1) theologians who, themselves caught within a web of "parity of evidence" between the (...) various schools of Islam, saw little hope of verifying the superiority of Muslim ways over those of other communities, and (2) Muslim intellectuals who viewed the particular religio-moral practices of Islam as shamefully atavistic and primitive, seeking instead to table "visible" religion for an esoterically conceived one. Against such detractors, a significant scholar of the period, Abū l-Hasan al-'Āmirī (d. 381/992), constructed a philosophical (and therefore theologically "neutral") defense of exoteric Islam, arguing in Aristotelian terms for (1) the superiority of religio-moral knowledge (the particular) over philosophical knowledge (the universal) in light of the greater benefit of the former to the welfare of society and (2) the superiority of Islamic religio-moral knowledge, since, he claims, it squares with logic more than any other communal way of life. The argument, one of many seeking to come to terms with the intellectual vagaries of the day, demonstrates how skepticism pushed scholars to explore more profoundly the nature of religion. In al-'Āmirī's case, his argument, metaphysically based with mystical inclinations, set the stage for later articulations of Islamic religiosity that integrated the human mind into the arena of Islam's revealed way of life. (shrink)
Al-Ghazali is arguably one of the most influential thinkers in the history of Islam, and his writings have received greater scholarly attention in the West than those of any other Muslim scholar. This study explores an important dimension of his thought that has not yet been fully examined, namely, his polemical engagement with the Ismailis of the Fatimid and early Alamut periods. Published in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies.
Globalization has consequences for the religious sphere, but it does not constitute a break with the previous situation. It constitutes rather an acceleration of a process begun with the birth of nation-states. The impact of the values of modernity is general, since even those in power, whatever their tendency, invoke values of democracy, progress, freedom and justice, whereas submission is what was required of subjects. Nevertheless, people today look to religion for fixed reference points, because of the brutal transition from (...) the Middle Ages to the 20th and 21st centuries, and because modernity is not a endogenous phenomenon. Islam then is playing the role of bulwark against western hegemony. It is also instrumentalized both by the powers that be and by the oppositions, all of whom give themselves over to displays of one-upmanship over fidelity to Islam. Does Islam then maintain its relevance in the context of globalization? The fact is that the bases on which social relations are now founded no longer permit discrimination on the ground of sex or religion, and that there is a loosening of the grip of traditional ritualism and that more and more Muslims are looking for an understanding of the faith that is freed from old-fashioned dogmas. These new givens are being demonstrated particularly when it comes to the exercise of power and the condition of women. As a result, traditional conceptions are destined to evolve, particularly concerning the status of the Koran, the growing awareness of the historical process that made the Koran into a juridical code, the archetype that has been stuck to the person of the Prophet, and the alienation that consists in the sacralization of every human act. (shrink)
The complex relations between Islam and modern science have so far mostly been examined by thinkers at the conceptual level. The wider interaction of religious scholars and preachers with the general public on science issues is an unexplored area that is worthy of examination, for it often is characterized by a literalistic approach. I first briefly review literalism in its various forms. The classical Islamic jurisprudential school of Zahirism, widely regarded as bearing the flag of juristic literalism, is also (...) briefly presented. I then address specific science-related issues currently being discussed in literalistic ways by many religious scholars and preachers in their general-public discourse. I focus on the practical case of the determination of crescent-based Islamic months and holy occasions, the conceptual issue of evolution (biological and human), and the rule for the consumption of meat by slaughter of animals. In the last part of the essay I propose a constructive alternative to the literalistic mode: the Maqasidi (objectives-based) approach. This rather old method has seen some revival lately, mainly among Islamic jurists concerned with solving the new issues of modern times, especially for Muslims living in the West, but this approach has not yet been applied to science-related issues. I present the main ideas of this method and show their relevance and usefulness to science-related topics. (shrink)
Abstract Among the world's religions, Islam has one of the most fully developed understandings of the notion of revelation. It views the whole of the created order as a revelation and, accordingly, considers religious revelation in the form of Scripture as an integral feature of the human condition. It is within this context that Muhammad's own revelatory experiences must be considered. These are well?attested in the Hadith literature. Islam recognises three distinct grades of revelation. Muhammad's was the highest (...) of these which, as the ahadith make clear, is a ?passing into the deep sleep state in full consciousness ...?. The explicit nature of these traditional accounts of prophecy in action, as well as Islam's universalism, sheds light upon revelation in all religious traditions. (shrink)